Online shopping was already on the rise; however, restrictions posed by COVID-19 undoubtedly initiated a boom that is still being felt two years later.
Australia is home to the 11th largest eCommerce market globally, so it's no surprise that it's welcoming several fundamental changes moving through 2022 and beyond.
So, what are the top trends to keep an eye on in the following months? Stick around to find out!
1. Payment Options
The days when most buyers paid with cash are long behind us. In its place, digital solutions offer a diverse range of alternatives consumers can utilise to purchase goods online.
Some of the most notable new payment trends include:
Buy Now, Pay Later: Companies like Klarna and Afterpay can split purchases into separate, interest-free instalments.
Digital Wallets: Platforms like Cash App and PayPal allow consumers to pay businesses and peers in just a few taps.
Cryptocurrency: Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies took off in 2021, with many businesses now choosing to accept this innovative payment method. With heavy-hitters like VISA connecting crypto and blockchain networks to their global payment networks, crypto payment options are becoming more accessible to eCommerce operators.
2. Cloud-based Software
The need for efficient cloud-based software has only grown as more businesses than ever go online. Fortunately, there seems to be more than enough solutions in development to meet rising demand.
Commercial Platforms: Platforms like Shopify have helped countless businesses kickstart a successful eCommerce presence.
Financial Software: Tasks like bookkeeping have become more streamlined than ever thanks to cloud-based financial solutions, many of which offer multiple integrations.
Website Builders: Today, nearly anyone with a computer and an internet connection can build the website of their dreams using platforms like WordPress and Wix.
3. Sub 2-hour Shipping
Consumers want things quicker than ever, and most businesses are willing to oblige. As a result, one-day shipping has become the gold standard. Still, some companies are taking it further by offering sub-2-hour shipping.
E-commerce retailers need to step up their game and offer faster delivery services to remain competitive. But, of course, features like 2-hour shipping rely on efficient stock and inventory management systems and other factors to prevent disaster.
4. Social Commerce
Online shopping doesn't solely happen on conventional eCommerce websites anymore.
Social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook have become hubs for eCommerce through standard posts - think brand sponsorships or TikTok for Business, and integrated online storefronts, e.g. Instagram Shopping, Facebook Marketplace, and the like.
5. Attendance at International Shopping Traditions, Sales, & Events
Companies are aiming to cash in on eCommerce's unstoppable growth. Therefore, the industry can expect more participation from Australian businesses and consumers at international sales events such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Retailers wishing to take advantage of these traditions will require inventory management and bookkeeping systems that can keep up with a sudden surge in sales volume.
6. Cross-border Commerce
As other countries develop strategies to dominate the global eCommerce market, cross-border trade has become a prominent reality. Companies that have developed a presence in their home countries are looking to follow Amazon, Alibaba, Etsy, and other eCommerce giants by going international.
Still, due to rising demand, increased prices and supply constraints, we can expect supply chain issues to remain at elevated levels compared with 2021. Therefore, to stay one step ahead, eCommerce businesses should keep an eye on these issues and plan accordingly.
While retailers can reduce risk and increase growth by selling into more profitable markets, this move requires strong inventory management, SEO, financials - including bookkeeping, and other crucial factors.
7. Alternative Financing Methods
Not all companies have the means to launch an eCommerce empire without outside help. Fortunately, assistance is available in the form of alternative financing methods, which are rapidly gaining in popularity.
Many businesses are shunning traditional financing methods such as bank loans and raising equity for alternative methods. These include revenue-based financing, i.e. when investors receive a percentage of the business's future revenues, peer-to-peer lending and crowdfunding.
8. Virtual Shopping, NFTs and the Metaverse
Developments like the Metaverse present new opportunities for the eCommerce world - VR shopping, anyone? The Metaverse provides unique opportunities for shoppers to experience products, no matter where they are. Consumers are becoming more willing to spend money on virtual goods, with ownership of these digital assets verified by NFTs. This space will continue to grow as more brands experiment with and adopt these technologies.
Just because shopping has moved online doesn't mean customer service standards are gone completely. To help maintain a great consumer experience - even through a computer, many eCommerce companies are investing in AI chatbot tech to answer customer questions 24/7, generate new leads, and more.
10. B2B eCommerce
Finally, B2C businesses aren't the only ones benefiting from the eCommerce boom; B2B companies are slowly but surely finding a home on eCommerce trading platforms.
It's clear that eCommerce will drastically impact how businesses sell their products and services moving forward. From bookkeeping software integrations to new payment methods, Australian companies should keep an eye on changes within the industry moving forward.